Zag Musicians Behind the Jams: Meritage

You may have caught this corky trio at their recent performance at Crosby Coffee House just last week. But you may have left wanting more, with burning questions–How did these three actually come together to perform with their perfectly harmonized melodies? And how do you pronounce their band name, anyway? How do I become a groupie? Cool your jets because your questions are about to be answered…

Meritage

Sarah Oliva: Band members?

Sarah Handy (jr.), Maggie Kucera (soph.) and Hannah Johnson (recently graduated sr.).

 

SO: What are each of your rolls?

Sarah: Maggie’s the superstar with the guitar.

Hannah: I would say you two on the guitar, all of us on vocals, and me on piano if we ever get to that.

Maggie: All of our songs have a “lead vocalist” but we all switch off. There’s shakers and tambourines that each of us can add if we need to. We’ll hopefully be incorporating Hannah on the piano soon…we like to leave it up to the harmony’s to do the work.

Sarah: It’s definitely more of a vocal thing than an instrumental.

 

SO: How did your band name come about?

Maggie: Actually…my dad. We were asking around to our family and friends, and it was the only idea he said. He was probably drinking wine at the time—it means “a blend of several wines”.

Hannah: It’s not a type of grape…I think it’s a desert wine. Because we’re sweet!

Sarah: We asked the audience [during our recent performance at Coffee House] how they would pronounce it, and they were like, “no, it’s Meri-TAWGE”!

Maggie: But we looked it up online and it’s supposed to be pronounced “Meri-TIGE”.

Sarah: So we’re gonna be one of those bands that people always don’t know how to pronounce.

 

SO: How would you describe the dynamic of your band?

Sarah: We all seriously love music and singing together.

Maggie: Yeah it’s a recent thing, the first time we’ve ever actually hung out together was towards the beginning of this semester. We all went to an open mic at The Bartlett just to watch but we ended up leaving early ‘cause we wanted to come back and play together—and when we started singing together, we were just like, ‘woah’!

Sarah: It was cool.

 

SO: Tell me a little more about the history of your band. How long have you officially been together?

Maggie: Maybe a month and a half?

Sarah: Two months?

Maggie: That’s so crazy! But we’ve known each other for longer.

Hannah: We each did our own music thing before… we all admired each other from a far. I was in Big Bing Theory, and met Sarah through a member in my group.

Sarah: We were intimidated by each other.

Maggie: I write a lot of music I guess, and performed with different groups of students. I’ve never had a past band, but mid-high school is when I started playing in front of people.

Sarah: And I just did like open-mic nights and stuff…

Hannah: And she has a Youtube channel! You have a lot of views.

 

SO: Your most recent performance was at Crosby Coffee House, how did that go?

Maggie: The guy that was supposed to perform on Wednesday canceled last minute, so the GSBA coffee house chair saw our video on YouTube and contacted us about performing… and this was on Tuesday morning! The thing that we were super nervous about was talking, since we don’t have a lot of experience. There were a lot of awkward pauses.

Sarah: Like 30 second to minute long pauses…

Hannah: I always say I would rather sing a song than give a speech.

Sarah: I would too!

 

SO: What genre would you label yourselves as?

Maggie: We have trouble with that one.

Sarah: Pop-folk.

Hannah: We do a lot of covers so it’s kind of hard.

Maggie: Our covers are more on the popular side…just to appeal to the crowd.

Hannah: But with “Hey Brother”, we made it more folky.

Maggie: We change popular songs to fit our style.

 

SO: What does a typical practice look like for you guys?

Hannah: They’re fun, we make dinner together!

Sarah: Gossip.

Maggie: We work on stuff but then get super distracted, whenever we try and record stuff someone always says something right before we record it and then we all end up laughing and messing it up.

Hannah: It’s usually always me who messes it up.

 

SO: Can you tell me a little bit about your YouTube video? Do you currently have any other recorded songs?

Sarah: We have some recorded songs that aren’t great quality just because we don’t have professional recording stuff.

Maggie: We’re slowly working on getting it together—we actually have a “student manager” (I guess we could call him that?), Anthony Verducci.

Sarah: He films our videos, pretty much plans all of our stuff…

Maggie: He got us this spot at the Rock the Planet Festival (student-run by the Gonzaga Environmental Organization) at the end of April here on campus! We have to get our stuff together before that…

Hannah: It’s really similar to Madonna stock…with a more earthy feel. Like we wear Birkenstocks. They try to make it really eco-friendly—they set up light bulbs around so they don’t have to use big stage lights. I did it with my old band the past two years.

Maggie: Our YouTube video is the only one we have public right now. We’ll definitely have more coming!


SO: How often/where/when do you perform?!

Maggie: We try to do once a week or once every other week, but with our schedules, it’s hard to keep it going being really busy. We did Soulful Soups and Spirits (a downtown bar and restaurant).

Sarah: When we hear about something we kind of just jump on it.

Maggie: We’re not a house band kind of group.

Sarah: We would sing them to sleep.

Maggie: If you want a bedside lullaby, though…

 

SO: Where would be your ideal location to play a show?

Hannah: Sasquatch!

Maggie: That would be amazing. I’m from Colorado so I would say Red Rocks. It’s a really cool music festival up in the mountains, at an outdoor venue that’s built in to red rocks pretty much….kind of like the Gorge except rocky.

 

SO: Where do you get your inspiration for your songs? Any particular artists whose sound you like to imitate?

Maggie: We have yet to put together original ones. We all write, we’re just going to have to collaborate on some already started songs and start some new ones.

Hannah: Our next step is to do originals.

 

SO: If you were to audition for any music TV show, what would it be?

Sarah: Awkward…I did! The Voice.

Maggie: I always thought The Voice would be cool.

Hannah: I think the X Factor would be cool too… and The Voice…any of them.

Maggie: It would be interesting to get a start from one of those shows; if we were to actually go somewhere it would be nice to do it on our own.

Sarah: It would be a lot of work but totally worth it.

 

SO: So you have plans to continue on with your band for a while?

Maggie: Hopefully!

Hannah: As long as I’m here!

 

SO: How would you suggest people interested in getting in touch with your band?

Maggie: We have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/meritagetrio.

Hannah: We also have an e-mail I guess: meritagetrio@gmail.com

Hannah: And we have a Youtube page that’s still in the works.

 

Look out for these three lovely ladies on campus and get their autograph while you can; they plan to keep playing together for the foreseeable future…and they may even end up at Sasquatch or Red Rocks one day.

 

If you or anyone you know is interested in sharing musical talent around campus–solo artists or bands, we invite you to reach out to the GUBB staff and we will graciously welcome you to come chat. No matter if you’re a Finn-from-Glee-singing- in-the-shower raw talent or Beyonce-the-next, we want to hear from you!

You can reach Sarah Oliva at: soliva@zagmail.gonzaga.edu.

 

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